Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has dropped back down to middleweight to face England’s Fabian Edwards at Bellator 281, and “The Dragon” hopes the change in weight class will spark a renaissance for his stellar MMA career.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his co-main event bout with Edwards in London, England, Machida said he saw the drop to 185 as a great chance to face a new set of challenges, though he’s remaining philosophical in his approach as he prepares to face hard-hitting Edwards on Friday night at the OVO Arena.
“After my last fight I decided to move to 185, because I just wanted to, for the Grand Prix, because we thought it was a great opportunity,” he said.
“Sometimes we care a lot about winning and losses but, as a fighter, sometimes you have to forget that and challenge yourself. Because at the end of your life, you have to have stories to to tell to your sons and grandsons. That’s the most important thing. Experience is more important, sometimes, than victories and defeats.”
The bout represents a real battle of the generations in the Bellator middleweight division, with the globally-renowned former UFC champion Machida getting set to face one of England’s top rising stars in Edwards.
“The Assassin” has certainly caught Machida’s eye with his past performances, but “The Dragon” remained coy on how he thought the matchup would pan out on fight night.
“He’s a well rounded fighter. He’s a dangerous fighter – I think he’s number four in the rankings, so he’s good,” he said.
“He has good striking. He has a good ground game. But let’s see what’s going to happen. It’s hard to foresee anything beforehand. Now, the only thing that I want (is) to focus on my game, to focus on my what I have to do on next Friday.”
For Machida, Friday’s fight is not only a chance to extend his career in a new weight division, it’s also the chance to make a late charge for another championship as he eyes a potential run at the Bellator middleweight title currently held by Gegard Mousasi.
“I’ve been saying that I’m not in this sport just for just for fun,” he said.
“I want to climb to the top, I want to be a champion. But, as I said, to be the champion is not the main goal. I want to be a champion. But, if it’s not possible, it’s OK. I have to accept everything because I already did a lot.”
To do that, he’ll have to score a big win against Edwards on the Brit’s home soil. It’s a task Machida says he’s ready to accomplish with style points.
“I’m able to finish him, that’s why I’m here,” he said.
“Always when I step in the cage, I want to finish my opponent, that’s the main goal. I want to give my best and try to finish him.”